This listicle lays out the current state of the PFAS crisis in Europe and the measures being taken to address the issue of these forever compounds in our environment.
- Per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) are a group of substances composed of more than 4,700 chemicals.
- They are widely used, man-made chemicals that accumulate over time in the environment and in humans.
- PFAS have been detected in the environment across Europe under national monitoring activities.
- Several drinking water supplies are now contaminated in different European countries.
- The number of sites in Europe potentially emitting PFAS is thought to be in the order of 100,000.
- Some highly polluted areas have concentrations of PFOA and PFOS above levels proposed by the 2018 revision of the EU Drinking Water Directive (EC 2017).
- Certain PFAS may cause cancer, issues with reproduction, and are suspected to interfere with the human endocrine system.
|“If all the PFAS releases into the environment would stop tomorrow, they would continue to be present in the environment and humans for many generations.” – European Chemicals Agency|
- Several studies report PFAS in fish from European glacial lakes.
- PFOS is the highest occurring PFAS found in fish.
- Consuming contaminated fish is not thought to pose human health risks unless one regularly consumes fish with known high PFAS concentrations.
- The environmental quality standard is 9.1 ng PFOS/g set by the Swedish Food Agency.
- The EU revised the Drinking Water Directive in 2020 to regulate total PFAS to 500 ng/l.
- The EU will ban all PFAS in fire-fighting foams and other uses, allowing use only where truly essential for society.
- The EU has called for proposals under the Green
Deal, to work on the remediation of PFAS and is offering grants to support research.
- Monitoring of UK lakes, rivers, groundwaters, estuaries and coastal waters between 2014 and 2019 suggests PFAS are widely present in English surface and groundwaters.
- There are no known notifications of PFAS levels exceeding guidance in drinking water as determined by the UK Drinking Water Inspectorate.
- Typically, PFAS are analyzed by liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry.
- Combustion ion chromatography can be used as a screening method for fluoride-containing compounds.
- For more on analysis solutions, workflows and toolkits for PFAS, visit our dedicated webpage.
Author : ion_maiden – TFS – Thermo Fischer Scientific